Four days, four headlines from 2019 #OceaniaTrack
The Australian Cycling Team wrapped up its start to the 2019 international track season at the Oceania Cycling Confederation Track Cycling Championships at the Adelaide Superdrome.
The first stop in the qualifying process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Oceania Championships is one of the busiest events on the team’s schedule for the summer with 40 titles awarded over four days in the elite and under 19 categories.
With so many events in so few days, we have highlighted four of the talking points from the four days of racing.
Matt motors and Steph scorches
There would be no stopping Australia’s king and queen of track sprinting with Matthew Glaetzer and Stephanie Morton claiming five gold between them.
Donning his rainbow jersey in the sprint, reigning world champion Glaetzer scorched the cold Adelaide velodrome in qualifying (9.725secs) before taking care of New Zealand’s Sam Webster and Edward Dawkins on his way to the final where he edged teammate Nathan Hart (Australia) for the gold.
"It is an important title with good (qualifying) points now the Olympic qualifying has begun," said Glaetzer who also claimed the keirin crown.
Stephanie Morton equalled her 2018 Commonwealth Games performance with a triple gold medal haul. She opened her campaign with gold in the team sprint with three-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch, before taking the keirin crown.
On the final day of competition, Morton clocked 10.593secs in qualifying, just .07 outside of her personal best set at April’s Games.
Morton reached the final after wins over Australia’s Lara Tucker and New Zealand’s Olivia Podmore, before proving too powerful for Natasha Hansen (New Zealand).
"It was a tough one, but it was good with a real quality field out there,” Morton said after her keirin win. “It is cool the Oceania Champs are here in Adelaide, and we have such a strong women's field. So to come away with the win, I am happy.”
Madison future in good (sets of) hands
With the Madison set to feature at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after being reintroduced to the programme for men and added for women, the Australian chances in just under two years from now looks promising.
Macey Stewart and Georgia Baker teamed to take the women’s crown, while Cameron Scott and Alex Porter dominated the men’s event.
It continues a strong year in the event for Stewart, who came into the Australian Cycling Team program last month, with the Tasmanian claiming the 2018 Oceania and national titles with Kristina Clonan.
"A big confidence boost to go back to back in my favourite event,” said Stewart, who on her way to Paris for this weekend’s opening Tissot UCI Track World Cup series where she will race the Madison with Clonan.
“It is exciting it [the Madison] is an Olympic event now, as it has always been my favourite event. It is exciting to be able to focus on it over the next couple of years towards Tokyo."
Sharing the endurance spoils
The results showed Australia’s endurance stocks run deep as the team shared the spoils across the Madison, omnium, points and scratch races and team pursuit.
Australia’s world record holding team pursuit quartet showed their prowess in the bunch events, with Sam Welsford claiming both the omnium and scratch races, Kell O’Brien winning the points and, while Alex Porter took the Madison (with Cameron Scott).
"The omnium was fun today! It has been a while since I have raced on the track, so it was good to get out there," said Welsford. "The Oceania Championships is good to see how you are going at the start of track season and as I have a bunch focus at the World Cups, it is perfect for peace of mind and confidence to get the win."
In the women’s events, veteran Ashlee Ankudinoff continued her strong 2018 with three wins on the week in the scratch, points, plus the team pursuit where she teamed with team newcomers Kristina Clonan and Macey Stewart, plus Georgia Baker.
“We have had two newbies in Kristina and Macey come into the squad, and I think they stepped up tremendously, we couldn’t be happier to start our season off with a gold medal,” said Ankudinoff.
Like Ankudinoff, Baker celebrated triple gold on the week, triumphing individually in the omnium, with Stewart in the Madison and the team pursuit.
Long haul celebration
There was little time for celebration following the Championships, with a 13-member contingent checking in for a long haul flight to Paris on Sunday night.
The team will have a few days to acclimatise and shed the jet lag ahead of this weekend’s opening Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup Series in Saint Quentin en Yvelines.
The team set to contest the opening round is:
Following Paris, the sprint crew is set to race on a third continent in three weeks at the Series’ second round in Canada. The endurance contingent will head to the London Six-Day event.